Institution of Civil Engineers launches State of the Nation report

Cover of State of the Nation reportThe Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) today launched its latest State of the Nation report and this year’s theme is ‘Low Carbon Infrastructure’. This report provides an interesting take on the low carbon debate coming from within the engineering industry.

As Paul Jowitt, ICE’s President says in his foreword:

“Many of the largest sources of carbon emissions are currently associated with the construction, operation, maintenance and use of infrastructure in particular in the energy, transport, water and waste sectors. Our inquiry suggests that many of the technologies and practices we need to create significant change in these sectors already exist, but their delivery is constrained by unfavourable investment and delivery conditions.”

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State of the Region dialogue on climate change published

Illustration: solar panel, wind farm, tractor, farming, person saying 'walk the talk'We’ve published the State of the Region dialogue Challenge or opportunity? How to plan for climate change (pdf, 1.3mb).

This report aims to help decision makers understand how climate change will impact on their areas and also give practical ways of adapting to, and taking advantage of, the opportunities and challenges presented by climate change.

The report covers six policy themes:

  • Built environment
  • Natural resources (water, land use and food)
  • Transport
  • Health
  • Energy and waste
  • Business, skills and education

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Speakers announced for the 2009 conference

West Midlands: Fit for the Future?One month to go until the Observatory’s 2009 conference – “West Midlands: Fit for the Future?” – on Tuesday 20th October at the Ramada Hotel in Sutton Coldfield.

Book online or fax us a booking form

Entitled “West Midlands: Fit for the Future?”, the conference will follow on from a book of the same name launched by the Observatory in July. The focus will be on the economic recovery of the region, rather than the recession, and how we position the West Midlands to ‘hit the ground running’. Delegates will be encouraged to discuss issues raised in the book and influence development of the evidence base to inform the Single Regional Strategy.

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Building a low carbon country

Ed Miliband MP

Ed Miliband MP

The transition to a low-carbon economy will be one of the defining issues of the 21st century. This plan sets out a route-map for the UK’s transition from here to 2020.

Ed Miliband MP, 15 July 2009

Ed Miliband, Secretary of State of Energy and Climate Change, yesterday launched  a national strategy for climate and energy.

The UK Low Carbon Transition Plan is the government’s plan for how the UK will meet the cut in emissions set out in the budget of 34% on 1990 levels by 2020.

The government has placed transforming the country into a cleaner, greener and more prosperous place at the heart of its new economic plans. This document is their way of ensuring that the UK is ready to take advantage of the opportunities ahead.

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Climate change dialogue underway

Discussion at the eventWe had so much interest in our new State of the Region dialogue on climate change on Monday, that we had to move it to a bigger venue!

The dialogue got off to a great start, and there seemed to be real concensus amongst the forty or so delegates on how to progress some of the issues raised.

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Prosperity without growth?

prosperity-without-growth1A major new report by the Sustainable Development Commission (SDC) argues that the pursuit of economic growth is one of the root causes of the current financial crisis, as well contributing to a growing environmental crisis and undermining well-being in developed countries.

The Prosperity without growth? report says that the current global recession should be the occasion to forge a new economic system equipped to avoid the shocks and negative impacts associated with our reliance on growth. The report calls on world leaders to adopt a 12-step plan to make the transition to a fair, sustainable, low-carbon economy.

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Increase in rail travel in West Midlands region

The Office of Rail Regulation recently published the fifth edition of their annual yearbook, containing data on rail usage, rail performance, freight, fares, regional usage profiles, train operating companies and sustainable development.

The National rail trends 2007-2008 yearbook compiles four quarters’ worth of data, some of which is available regionally.

The data on rail use has been incorporated into our updated 2008 State of the Region transport dataset.

The number of journeys in the West Midlands increased by 12.6 points from 2006/06 on the 1996/96 index of 100.  Most of the journeys to/from the West Midlands were to/from London (17.6%). Continue reading